Monday, June 28, 2010

We remember La Orquesta Aragon

As I mentioned in previous posts, growing up Cuban in the US was a lot about music.    

In other words, my parents' turntable featured many artists, specially from those wonderful 1950's when Havana was the musical capital of Latin America.

One of my favorite groups was La Orquesta Aragon, a cha-cha- cha band, romantic boleros and "danzon".    Their sound was violins, piano, flute, percussion, and vocals.

They were absolutely great. 

My first nomination is "Tres Lindas Cubanas".

My second selection is "Calculadora".

Last, but not least, "El bodeguero".

Enjoy one of Cuba's greatest orchestras!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

RIP Jim Hickman (1937-2016)

Jim Hickman is the answer to a great baseball trivia question:   Who drove in Peter Rose in the 1970 All Star Game?    I am talking about the time when Pete Rose ran over Ray Fosse to score the winning run!  

We learned that Jim Hickman passed away.   

He started his baseball career with the New York Mets in 1962, or the year that the team lost 120 games.   Hickman actually had a decent year for a very bad team:  13 HR & 46 RBI.

In 1968, Hickman was traded to the Cubs and his career flourished: 89 HR over a four year period.    

His best season was in 1970:  .315 average, 32 HR & 115 RBI.

RIP Jim Hickman!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Happy birthday: Robert Jaggers is 90 years old

Beatriz and I had a chance to attend Bob's 90th birthday party. 

It was great.

Bob is a World War II veteran and wrote a book about his experiences

We had a chance to meet his brother, also a WW2 veteran, and a so many in his big family that flew in from all over the country.  

The party theme was the 1920's and I ended up as "Irving Berlin".  

The food was great and so was the atmosphere.

Let me repeat:  It is always a pleasure to say hello to Bob at the 11am mass at St Catherine of Sienna.  

He is one of the most popular parishioners.  Bob is also a popular guest at area schools where kids have a lot of fun asking questions about his past.

A few years ago, Bob Jagers was interviewed about the book and his amazing life.  This is a bit of that interview:

"“I was born in 1922 in Chicago, Illinois, and later moved to Grand Rapids, Michigan.  

I graduated high school in Grand Rapids.  I went to two years of Aquinas College in Grand Rapids before entering the war.  I enlisted in the Navy in April of 1942.  But they permitted me to finish my term.  

 In June of 1942 I was sent to Great Lakes naval training center, for my boot camp.  After boot camp, I went to quatermaster signaling school .  Upon completion, we were asked what kind of ship we wanted to be on, and I said I wanted to be on a submarine.  They interviewed me and gave me some exhaustive tests for submarine duty, and they said I was number 21.  The next complement of sub sailors needed was of 20.  If any of the previous 20 were rejected, or refused to go for some reason, then I would be selected.  Looking back 50 years, I was quite fortunate in that all 20 of them were selected.  The next thing I knew I was on a train for amphibious training at Solomons Maryland.  I spent several months there, went aboard a training vessel, a LST training vessel on the Chesapeake Bay.  While aboard this training vessel, we had some cases of spinal meningitis.  Since we were out in the bay, and spinal meningitis is very contagious, they sent one man that was ill ashore in what we called a small boat or a LCBD.  As we were out in the bay, they discovered a second sailor that was ill, so they put him in a second LCBD and took him to the hospital.  Well on the small boat, it required an officer, a signalman, plus the small boat crew.  So we went aboard and I was the signalman.  This is wartime so there were no lights, you have to feel your way and it was midnight or dark. And our officer said, “well I wanna take a shortcut”.  Instead of heading along the shore and going back to Solomons, he took a shortcut, but we got lost.  We ended up into a tributary of the Patuxen, at a farmer’s dock, and we went to the farmer’ house, and we found that we were close to the Patuxen naval air base.  So they called the air base and they sent an ambulance and the sick patient plus the officer went in the ambulance.  The boat crew and ourselves had the ship for ourselves.  Well we followed the river up to the naval base.  We spent the night at the naval base, had breakfast, and returned to our ship.  Aboard this training vessel, we had some powdered milk, and the powdered milk was about the size of a coffee can.  Later on, when we received our own ship, we had to sail to New York, and we were given a list of things of things we had to order, and on this list was ten cans of powdered milk.  The storekeeper thought that ten cans of powdered milk would not be enough, so he changed the manifest to read one hundred cans.  When the cans came they were huge, like a thousand pounds instead of ten pounds.  So two years later when we decommissioned that ship, we still had some of that original powdered milk.  We put that powdered milk in every available place we could find.  It was down in the engine room, it was down in the flag locker which was part of my responsibility, that was rather an unusual story.  We sailed from New York to Bermuda, where we gathered a convoy to sail towards North Africa.  It took us 36 days to go from New York to Bermuda to North Africa.  An LST is the slowest ship in the convoy.  It travels maybe four or five knots,  about six miles an hour.   Not only do you travel from Bermuda to North Africa, but you have to zig zag.  So I’m sure that the destroyers and destroyer escorts that were accompanying us really didn’t like to see the LST’s come along because the convoy moved very slowly.  We went to the straits of Gibraltar, landed at the naval base of Oran.  And at the naval base, it’s a French base, there were some French battle ships, they were some ships that had been shelled, had been bombed by the British fleet.  When the Germans had taken over France, they assumed they were taking over the French fleets.  There was an order passed to the French sailors that if they wanted to join the allies, they were to turn on their search lights and point them towards the sky.  Well this wasn’t done in every case, and as a result of it some of the British warships fired on the French ships.  And these British warships had some of the French sailors onboard, and it was a pretty bad feeling for some of these French sailors to be firing at their own French sailors on the French ships.  From Oran, we stopped at Arzoo, and from Arzoo, we went to a place called Bougie.  The pharmacist mate onboard our ship, we didn’t have a doctor, he decided that I had appendicitis.  So they dropped me off at Bougie and sent me to a British field hospital.  I spent five weeks at this British field hospital, and I did have an appendectomy.  A British field hospital is all tents, they had scheduled my operation for 4:30 Thursday afternoon, and while I’m laying there on the guerney, the nurse comes in and tells me your operation is being delayed so the doctor can have his tea.  The British really loved their tea, it seemed to be more important than anything else.  I had tea eight times a day.  While I was at the British field hospital,  I was the only American sailor among 3000 patients.  They told me that there was an American soldier that had been very badly burned.  They wanted to know if I, since I was up and walking around, if I would go and talk to him.   This soldier had third degree burns over seventy to eighty percent of his body.  In the IV’s they couldn’t give him any liquids, he just couldn’t keep them down.  Some doctor decided, well, maybe we could give some beer.  It’ll be the proteins and the liquids, which they did.  They fed him nothing but beer for many many days.  I would go in to talk to him, and he had his perpetual high.  He was glad to see me everyday. It came time for me to be discharged from the hospital, and he was kinda sad to see me go.  I was his only connection.  While we were at the hospital, we were strafed and divebombed by Silka divebombers almost every night, sometimes even during the day.  They just ignored the big redcross that was painted on the tents.  They were not supposed to bomb hospitals.  The Geneva Convention says no hospital ships or hospitals, but anyway we were bombed almost every night, some times during the day.  So they were ready to discharge me from the hospital, I just had an appendix operation.  I had my seed bag my hammock and my mattress, it weighed between eighty and one hundred pounds, and they gave me some railroad tickets and seven days rations and said don’t do any lifting for several weeks.  Well how do I get my seed bag from here to there without lifting it?  They gave me seven days rations, which was seven packages of hard-tac, seven tins of bullied beef, somewhat like spam, a package of tropical butter, which you couldn’t melt with a blow torch I don’t think, and they gave me some tropical cheese, which was extremely hard to cut.  They put me on a train near Bougie and I had to go into – this is in the summer, May – and I had to go to Benemensure, where I had to change trains.  When I left the ship for the hospital, my white uniform was in the bottom of my seed bag.  And I wasn’t about to unload my seed bag to get to my white uniform.  So I had my blue pants, and I confiscated a British army shirt from a soldier at the hospital, and my white hat.  Benemensure is approximately 150 - 200 miles from the nearest water.  So I had traded a packet of hard-tac for some fresh eggs, and I‘m outside of the railroad station building a fire ready to have lunch.  And the SP’s pick me up.  I had British orders, a British shirt, and I was an American sailor.  And 200 miles to the nearest water.  So they picked me up, and took me to their base.   Well the captain looked at my orders and he finally decided that what I was saying was the truth.  He says well I don’t have much to offer you since you were in the middle of eating lunch, all I can offer you is some pork and beans and some pineapple.  Well after five weeks of British food, that was like a gourmet meal to me.  I finally boarded the train from Benemensure to Algiers.  Riding from Bougie to Benemensure I was riding first class.  First class meant that you sat with pigs, goats, and chickens.  So when I went from Benemensure to Algiers, I rode in the baggage car.  And for me it was more enjoyable, more comfortable, less odiferous, and there were some French soldiers in there, I didn’t speak French and they didn’t speak English, but they would point things to me as we passed.  I got to Algiers, and I was to look up the British road transportation officer, the RTO.  I looked and I looked, and I couldn’t find him.  So I went aboard an LST that was in the harbor, and I said can I spend the night here, and they said yes, and so I was thinking to myself well I’ll spend the night here and wake up and have a good breakfast.  Well about 3 in the morning they were shaking me and they said well you gotta get up, we have sailing orders.  So I had to pack my gear, and get off the ship.  I went to a park and stayed there for a night.  Woke up the next morning at I’m still looking for this RTO, and couldn’t find him.  Well, I knew there was a naval base at Oran, and that was really where I was supposed to go.  So I went down to one of the gates coming into the city.  And there was an SP on duty there and I said I need to get a ride to Oran, see if you can fix me up with one of the people going by."

Here is the book:

1955: Harmon Killebrew hit the first of 573 HR

On this day, a young Killebrew hit # 1 as a member of the Washington Senators who became the Minnesota Twins in 1961.   

Harmon Killebrew was one of the great power hitters that I grew up watching and following.    

He finished his career with 573 HR & 1,559 RBI.

Killebrew won 6 HR titles and led the AL in RBI 4 times.   He was the AL MVP in 1969.

1947: Jackie Robinson steals home for the first time

Image result for jackie robinson stole home images
On this day in 1947, Jackie stole home for the first of 19 times.

Jackie Robinson broke the color line in 1947 with the Brooklyn Dodgers.   He also earned a reputation for stealing bases and getting lots of clutch hits.  

He was voted Rookie of the Year in 1947:   .297 batting average, .383 OBP and 29 stolen bases.    

Overall, Jackie hit .311 and a .409 on base pct over 10 years with the Dodgers.   

He played in the 1947, 1949, 1952, 1953, 1955 and 1956 World Series.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Remembering Diana, Flo and Mary, a.k.a The Supremes!

The Supremes were Diana Ross, Mary Wilson and Florence Ballard.

They were three very talented young women from Detroit.

In a short time, they became the most successful girl group in rock and pop history.

Later, Diana Ross enjoyed a huge solo career!

They recorded a lot of good songs.   One of my favorites was "Stop in the name of love":

"Stop! In the name of love

Before you break my heart

Baby, baby I'm aware of where you go
Each time you leave my door
I watch you walk down the street
Knowing your other love you'll meet
But this time before you run to her
Leaving me alone and hurt (Think it over)
After I've been good to you? (Think it over)
After I've been sweet to you?
Stop! In the name of love
Before you break my heart
Stop! In the name of love
Before you break my heart Think it over Think it over
I've known of your Your secluded nights
I've even seen her Maybe once or twice
But is her sweet expression
Worth more than my love and affection?
But this time before you leave my arms
And rush off to her charms (Think it over)
Haven't I been good to you? (Think it over)
Haven't I been sweet to you?
Stop! In the name of love
Before you break my heart
Stop! In the name of love
Before you break my heart
Think it over Think it over
I've tried so hard, hard to be patient
Hoping you'd stop this infatuation
But each time you are together
I'm so afraid I'll be losing you forever
Stop! In the name of love
Before you break my heart
Stop! In the name of love Before you break my heart
Stop! In the name of love Before you break my heart
Baby, think it over Think it over, baby Ooh, think it over baby..."

(Brian Holland/Lamont Dozier/Edward Holland, Jr.)

World War II: The Battle of Britain 1940 with Barry Jacobsen

We love the movie: "The Pride of the Yankees"!

In a couple of weeks, we will recall another anniversary of Lou Gehrig's 1939 farewell speech.

We also love watching "Pride of the Yankees", the greatest baseball movie ever. (Maybe "Field of Dreams" is second!)

We love baseball history.  We love Lou Gehrig's life, and specially the courageous way that he fought adversity.

"Where have all the flowers gone", a gem by The Kingston Trio

Once in a while, we drop the politics and go musical.  Today, I will tell you about one of my very favorite songs.  This is a folk classic written by Pete Seeger and performed by The Kingston Trio:

This song has been recorded by just about everyone. It was also one of the first tunes that I tried playing on the guitar. The big hit version belongs to The Kingston Trio but Peter Paul & Mary also had a very nice arrangement of it:

Where have all the flowers gone? Long time passing.
Where have all the flowers gone? Long time ago.
Where have all the flowers gone?
Young girls picked them, ev'ry one.
When will they ever learn?
When will they ever learn?
Where have all the young girls gone? Long time passing.
Where have all the young girls gone? Long time ago.
Where have all the young girls gone?
Gone to young men ev'ry one.
When will they ever learn? When will they ever learn?
Where have all the young men gone? Long time passing.
Where have all the young men gone? Long time ago.
Where have all the young men gone?
Gone to soldiers ev'ry one.
When will they ever learn? When will they ever learn?
Where have all the soldiers gone? Long time passing.
Where have all the soldiers gone? Long time ago.
Where have all the soldiers gone?
Gone to graveyards, ev'ry one.
When will they ever learn? When will they ever learn?
Where have all the graveyards gone? Long time passing.
Where have all the graveyards gone? Long time ago.
Where have all the graveyards gone?
Gone to flowers, ev'ry one.
When will they ever learn?
When will they ever learn?"

June 23, 1971: What a day for Rick Wise of the Phillies

On this day in 1971, Rick Wise had one spectacular day:  He pitched a no-hitter and hit 2 HR.     No other pitcher had done before or since!  

Rick's amazing day made him one of the great Phillies of all time.

Rick Wise broke with the Phillies at 18 in 1964.    Overall, he pitched until 1982.  

His career numbers were pretty good:   188-181 with a very respectable 3.69 ERA.     His numbers have to be put in the context that he pitched for bad teams in Philadelphia.

He was traded to Boston and won 19 games for the 1975 Boston Red Sox that lost a 7 game series to Cincinatti.   

Rick was a workhorse completing 138 games.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

"Sons of", a wonderful song by Judy Collins

We file this one under the "time flies" category.

Judy Collins is 70-something these days.....Is that possible? Yes it is!

Over the years, we've loved Judy Collins' songs and beautiful voice.

Her biggest hits were "Both Sides Now" and "Send In The Clowns".

She also recorded one of the best versions of "Amazing Grace".

She won the Grammy Award (Best Folk Performance or Folk Recording) for "Both Sides Now" in 1968.

It's hard to pick favorite but I always loved "Sons of":

"Sons of the sea, sons of the saint
Who is the child with no complaint;
Sons of the great or sons unknown
All were children like your own

The same sweet smiles, the same sad tears
The cries at night, the nightmare fears
Sons of the great, sons unknown
All were children like your own

Sons of tycoons, or sons from the farms
All of the children ran from your arms
Through fields of gold, through fields of ruin
All of the children vanished too soon

In towering waves, in walls of flesh
Amid dying birds trembling with death
Sons of tycoons, sons from the farms
All of the children ran from your arms

Sons of your sons, sons passing by
Children were lost in lullaby
Sons of true love, sons of regret
All of your sons you can never forget

Some build the roads, some wrote the poems
Some went to war, some never came home
Sons of your sons, sons passing by
Children were lost in lullaby...."

June 22, 1941: Joe DiMaggio reaches # 35

Joe DiMaggio went 2-for-5 and took the streak to 35 games.  

By now, the whole country was into the streak.  It was the top story in the sports sheets from coast to coast.

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1987: Tom Seaver retired from baseball

Tom Seaver broke with the Mets in 1967 at 22.     Along with Jerry Koosman and Nolan Ryan, he was part of the team's young pitching staff that took the team to the 1969 World Series.    

Seaver started fast in first full year of 1967:   16-13, 2.76 ERA and 18 complete games pitching for the 61-101 Mets that finished in last place.    He was the NL Rookie of the year!

Two years later, or 1969, Tom was the NL Cy Young with a terrific 25-7 & 2.21 ERA.      

Tom's career stats got him to the Hall of Fame in 1992:  311-205 & 2.86 ERA.    He played in 3 post season series with the Mets in 1969 & 1973 plus the Reds in 1979.

This is a partial list of his accomplishments:

1) one of only two pitchers in Major League history with 300 Wins, an ERA under 3.00 & 3,000 Strikeouts.   The other is Walter Johnson; and, 

2) he pitched twenty-seven 3-hitters, ten 2-hitters, five 1-hitters and a no hitter in 1978 wearing the Reds uniform.  

Just a great pitcher!

We remember Anne Morrow Lindbergh (1906-2001)

Image result for anne lindbergh images
Anne Morrow Lindbergh was born on this day in 1906.   She was a wife, mother, author and pilot.   She got her pilot license in 1931 and flew often with Charles.

In 1932, tragedy struck Charles & Anne when their baby son was kidnapped.   It became one of the biggest stories of the 20th century. 

The Lindberghs had 4 more children.   In 1944, Anne wrote a best seller "Gift from the sea".   She died in 2001.

Tags: Anne Morrow Lindbergh  To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the My View by Silvio Canto, Jr. Thanks!

Monday, June 21, 2010

1788: U.S. Constitution ratified

On this day in 1788, New Hampshire voted “yes” and the US Constitution was ratified:   

On September 17, 1787, after three months of debate moderated by convention president George Washington, the new U.S. constitution, which created a strong federal government with an intricate system of checks and balances, was signed by 38 of the 41 delegates present at the conclusion of the convention.
As dictated by Article VII, the document would not become binding until it was ratified by nine of the 13 states.
Beginning on December 7, five states–Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Georgia, and Connecticut–ratified it in quick succession.
However, other states, especially Massachusetts, opposed the document, as it failed to reserve undelegated powers to the states and lacked constitutional protection of basic political rights, such as freedom of speech, religion, and the press.
In February 1788, a compromise was reached under which Massachusetts and other states would agree to ratify the document with the assurance that amendments would be immediately proposed.
The Constitution was thus narrowly ratified in Massachusetts, followed by Maryland and South Carolina.
On June 21, 1788, New Hampshire became the ninth state to ratify the document, and it was subsequently agreed that government under the U.S. Constitution would begin on March 4, 1789.
In June, Virginia ratified the Constitution, followed by New York in July.    
So we say thank you to # 9 New Hampshire for making it official many years ago today.

1940: Richard Nixon & Patricia Ryan were married

Had not heard "12:30" in a long time!

The Mamas and Papas were a very popular quartet many summers ago.

From left to right: Denny Doherty, Cass Elliott, a.k.a. Mama Cass, Michelle and John Phillips, the tall one with the hat! (Michelle is the only surviving member of the group. Cass died accidentally. Denny and John died of cancer recently!)

John Phillips wrote most of their big songs. They had hits like "California Dreamin" and "Monday Monday".

However, my favorite was always "12:30":
"I used to live in New York City
Every thing there was dark and dirty
Outside my window was a steeple 
With a clock that always said 12:30
Young girls are coming to the canyon
And in the morning I can see them walking
I can no longer keep my blinds drawn 
And I cant keep myself from talking.
At first so strange to feel so friendly 
To say good morning and really mean it
To feel these changes happening in me 
But not to notice till I feel it.
Young girls are coming to the canyon 
And in the morning I can see them walking
I can no longer keep my blinds drawn 
And I cant keep myself from talking.
Cloudy waters cast no reflection 
Images of beauty lie there stagnant
Vibrations bounce in no direction 
And lie there shattered into fragments.
Young girls are coming to the canyon 
And in the morning I can see them walking
I can no longer keep my blinds drawn
And I cant keep myself from talking."

Remembering ABBA!

They were from Sweden. You don't usually associate Sweden with English pop music.

Yet, ABBA was one of the best selling artists of the 1970's.

ABBA were two guys and two gorgeous girls, Anni-Frid Lyngstad and Agnetha Fältskog.

Who cares about the two guys when two cute girls are in front of the band?

I didn't care.

I learned later that Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus, the two guys, were composers and arrangers too.

Who cares? I was busy watching the cute girls!

My introduction to ABBA was "I do I do I do".

It sounded a lot like Pat Boone's "Love letters in the sand" but it was OK.

After all, the two ABBA girls were a lot more interesting to look at than Pat Boone!

Eventually, I became a fan because of great songs:

like "Chiquitita",

the very inspiring "I have a dream",

the great mystery of "Fernando",

the bouncy melody of "Super Trouper"; and last but not least,

a great love song like "The winner takes it all".

ABBA faded fast in the 1980s. I have not seen them recently. Yet, they were great for a 5-7 year stretch about 25 years ago!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

We remember Paul Mauriat (1925-2006)

Before cars were required to have FM frequencies (circa 1970), my parents used to listen to easy listening music in that awful "front of the car speaker". (It was good for news and sports but not music)

My brother, sister and I used to call it "elevator music".

Our parents used to tell us to shut up and appreciate the strings.

Of course, that was then and this is now.

Over time, I did grow up to like Paul Mauriat, one of those musicians that we used to hear in our parents' stations.

Paul Mauriat was born in France and died a few years ago. He became one of France's best exports and musical ambassadors. He had the ability to make wonderful arrangements and recorded many albums.

In the spring of 1968, he hit the top of the US charts with "Love is blue". It became one of the most popular romantic tunes of its time:

Remembering Maurice Gibb (1949-2003)

It's hard to believe that Maurice Gibb died in 2003.  His death ended The Bee Gees!    (His twin brother Robin died in May 2012)

Maurice usually sang background vocals, played bass, keyboards and co-wrote most the group's songs. He also worked on his brothers' solo 1980's LPs. He co-wrote the Gibb songs for Kenny Rogers ("Islands in the stream"), Barbara Streisand ("Guilty"), Diana Ross ("Chain reaction") and Dionne Warwick ("Heartbraker")!

He wasn't Barry, the girls' favorite.

He wasn't Robin, the one with the signature voice of so many Bee Gees' hits.

Maurice was in the background but had a lot to do with the group's wonderful arrangements.    

They called him "the man in the middle":

Friday, June 18, 2010

Paul McCartney after The Beatles!

In the 1960's, it was Paul and the Beatles. It's hard to think of the 1960's without whistling a Lennon-McCartney tune.

Paul left the Beatles in 1970. He recorded a bunch of great songs by himself or with Wings. They were good songs and the common denominator was Linda.

From 1969 til her death from cancer in 1998, Paul and Linda had a great marriage.  It shows in all of their videos and recordings from that period!

Happy birthday, Paul McCartney!

Our favorite Beatle is 75 today! Can you believe that Paul McCartney is 75? We wrote a post a couple of years ago when he turned 64. (Remember "When I'm 64" from Sgt. Pepper's?)

What more can I say about Paul? Just thank you for the music.

Happy # 75 for Paul McCartney

As time flies, and all of us get older too, we celebrate Paul McCartney's 75th birthday.  Where did the last 50-something years go?  Some of us still remember The Beatles on The End Sullivan Show.  Again, where did the time go?

Paul is the most successful English speaking songwriter of the last 50 years.  How many McCartney songs are in your personal soundtrack?  

How many of your life moments do you associate with with a McCartney or Beatles' song?    The answer is many for me.

Tags: Paul McCartney is 70 years old  To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the My View by Silvio Canto, Jr. Thanks!




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